also dead-wood, 1887 in the figurative sense of "useless person or thing," originally American English, from dead (adj.) + wood (n.). The meaning "wood dead upon a tree" is by 1803. Dead wood in a forest is useful as firewood; perhaps the reference here is to the dried up parts of plants grown for commercial production of flowers or fruit.
The term also meant, in ship-building, "timber built up at either end of the keel to afford firm fastening for the cant timbers" (18c.) and, in bowls, "pins which have been knocked down and block those still standing" (1858).
device for fastening or holding, c. 1300, probably from Middle Dutch clampe (Dutch klamp), from Proto-Germanic *klam-b- "clamp, cleat;" cognate with Middle Low German klampe "clasp, hook," Old High German klampfer "clip, clamp;" also probably related to Middle Dutch klamme "a clamp, hook, grapple," Danish klamme "a clamp, cramp," Old English clamm "a tie, fetter," perhaps from the same root as Latin glomus "ball-shaped mass" (see glebe).
It took the place of earlier clam "clamp, brace," from Old English clamm "bond, fetter, grip, grasp" (see clam (n.)).
Garter in reference to the highest order of knighthood (mid-14c.) is from the Order of the Garter, the earliest records of which are entirely lost, but which according to Froissart was established c. 1344 by Edward III, though the usual story of how it came about is late (1614) and perhaps apocryphal. Garter-snake (1773) said to be so called from some fancied resemblance to a ribbon. Garter belt attested by 1913.
Old English bolt "short, stout arrow with a heavy head;" also "crossbow for throwing bolts," from Proto-Germanic *bultas (source also of Old Norse bolti, Danish bolt, Dutch bout, German Bolzen), perhaps originally "arrow, missile," and from PIE *bheld- "to knock, strike" (source also of Lithuanian beldžiu "I knock," baldas "pole for striking").
Applied since Middle English to other short metal rods (especially those with knobbed ends): meanings "stout pin for fastening objects together" and "part of a lock which springs out" are both from c. 1400. A bolt of canvas (c. 1400) was so called for its shape. Adverbial phrase bolt upright (like a bolt or arrow) is from late 14c. Meaning "sliding metal rod that thrusts the cartridge into the chamber of a firearm" is from 1859. From the notion of an arrow's flight comes the bolt of lightning (1530s) and the sense of "a sudden spring or start" (1540s).
c. 1200, from Old English ege (Mercian), eage (West Saxon) "eye; region around the eye; apperture, hole," from Proto-Germanic *augon (source also of Old Saxon aga, Old Frisian age, Old Norse auga, Swedish öga, Danish øie, Middle Dutch oghe, Dutch oog, Old High German ouga, German Auge, Gothic augo "eye"). Apparently the Germanic form evolved irregularly from PIE root *okw- "to see."
HAMLET: My father — methinks I see my father.
HORATIO: Where, my lord?
HAMLET: In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Until late 14c. the English plural was in -an, hence modern dialectal plural een, ene. Of potatoes from 1670s. Of peacock feathers from late 14c. As a loop used with a hook in fastening (clothes, etc.) from 1590s. The eye of a needle was in Old English. As "the center of revolution" of anything from 1760. Nautical in the wind's eye "in the direction of the wind" is from 1560s.
To see eye to eye is from Isaiah lii.8. Eye contact attested from 1953. To have (or keep) an eye on "keep under supervision" is attested from early 15c. To have eyes for "be interested in or attracted to" is from 1736; make eyes at in the romance sense is from 1837; gleam in (someone's) eye (n.) "barely formed idea" is from 1959. Eye-biter was an old name for "a sort of witch who bewitches with the eyes."